Saudi Arabia embraces technology to deliver effective Hajj experience to pilgrims

Saudi Arabia embraces technology to deliver effective Hajj experience to pilgrims
The SDAIA has deployed advanced data and AI technologies to streamline the entry process for Hajj pilgrims. (SPA)
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Updated 13 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia embraces technology to deliver effective Hajj experience to pilgrims

Saudi Arabia embraces technology to deliver effective Hajj experience to pilgrims
  • SDAIA’s efforts during the Hajj season focus on providing data-driven capabilities and predictive analytics
  • Technologies have been leveraged to support government agencies working in Hajj

RIYADH: The Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence has deployed advanced data and AI technologies to streamline the entry process for Hajj pilgrims.

The SDAIA has this year equipped 14 entry points across the Kingdom — including airports, seaports, and land borders — with the necessary technical infrastructure to ease entry procedures, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

In addition, the body is backing the Makkah Route Initiative, partnering with multiple government bodies to implement the program in seven countries worldwide.

SDAIA’s efforts during the Hajj season focus on providing data-driven capabilities and predictive analytics, enhanced through continuous innovation in AI.

These technologies have been leveraged to support government agencies working in Hajj. The body has deployed a national technical team to secure communication circuits and ensure uninterrupted service in the regions of Makkah, Madinah, the Eastern Province, Tabuk, Al-Jouf, the Northern Borders, and Najran.

The SDAIA team is providing its services at various entry points, including King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Jeddah Islamic Port, Taif Airport, Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah, the Empty Quarter, Al-Batha, Salwa, Ar Ruqi, King Fahd Causeway, Halat Ammar, Neom Port in the Tabuk region, Jadidah Arar in the Northern Borders region, Al-Haditha in the Al-Jouf region, and Al-Wadiah in the Najran region.

The SDAIA is providing technical support to border crossing points, sorting sites, and security control centers through the National Information Center, according to the SPA.

It operates in 78 locations in the holy sites, offering systems, services, and technical products while enhancing integration with other government agencies. This integration ensures the availability of pilgrims’ data before their arrival, reducing the time required for entry registration.

The SDAIA has set up a round-the-clock technical support center to handle reports and resolve issues for various sectors during Hajj. Mobile technical kits have been deployed to ensure swift response to problems at all entry points and preventive maintenance has been carried out on workstations and network devices at Hajj terminals.

The SDAIA has also overseen the infrastructure and data rooms in the reception halls for pilgrims. Additionally, biometric capture and registration stations have been established at border points, with devices prepared, programmed, and equipped with the approved software. Personnel from participating sectors have also received training on the new systems and updates.

The organization has introduced Banan, a mobile device that enables identity verification services through biometric data for agencies working in the field.

The SDAIA has also developed the Sawaher and Baseer platforms to help manage crowd sizes effectively at various Hajj sites. These platforms ensure each location does not get overcrowded, promoting a safer and smoother experience for pilgrims.

The authority has integrated many pilgrim services into the Tawakkalna app. Pilgrims can now manage everything from Manasik Gate procedures to displaying their pilgrim cards, and entry permits for vehicles and personnel working on Hajj, in collaboration with Public Security.

Additionally, the platform offers the Rescue Me service and features such as the digital Qur’an, prayer times, and qibla direction.


Saudi, North Macedonia to strengthen Islamic affairs cooperation

Saudi, North Macedonia to strengthen Islamic affairs cooperation
Updated 22 July 2024
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Saudi, North Macedonia to strengthen Islamic affairs cooperation

Saudi, North Macedonia to strengthen Islamic affairs cooperation
  • The pact was inked by Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Albania Faisal bin Ghazi Hefzi and representatives of the Presidency of the Islamic Union of North Macedonia

RIYADH: The Kingdom and North Macedonia have signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation on Islamic affairs, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The pact was inked by Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Albania Faisal bin Ghazi Hefzi and representatives of the Presidency of the Islamic Union of North Macedonia.

Hefzi also serves as non-resident ambassador to North Macedonia, and was representing the Kingdom’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance.

In a press statement after the signing ceremony, Hefzi said the Kingdom supports all efforts to ensure peace and prosperity for Muslims worldwide.

The signing ceremony took place on Sunday in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, and was attended by various government representatives.


KSrelief delivers essential aid to thousands in Syria and Sudan

KSrelief delivers essential aid to thousands in Syria and Sudan
Updated 22 July 2024
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KSrelief delivers essential aid to thousands in Syria and Sudan

KSrelief delivers essential aid to thousands in Syria and Sudan
  • Both efforts reflect Saudi Arabia’s commitment, through KSrelief, to support vulnerable people worldwide

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian agency KSrelief has delivered food and other aid to thousands of vulnerable people in Syria and Sudan.

In operations carried out on Friday in the Idlib region of Syria, KSrelief distributed 1,078 food baskets and hygiene kits for 6,468 individuals, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

This was a part of the second phase of a project aimed at supporting people affected by the 2024 earthquake in northern Syria.

Also on Friday, in the northern state of Sudan, KSrelief provided 600 shelter bags for 3,450 individuals as a part of an ongoing aid project.

Both efforts reflect Saudi Arabia’s commitment, through KSrelief, to support vulnerable people worldwide, the SPA reported.


KSrelief conducts 40 orthopedic surgeries for Yemeni patients in Hadhramaut

KSrelief conducts 40 orthopedic surgeries for Yemeni patients in Hadhramaut
Updated 22 July 2024
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KSrelief conducts 40 orthopedic surgeries for Yemeni patients in Hadhramaut

KSrelief conducts 40 orthopedic surgeries for Yemeni patients in Hadhramaut

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief carried out 40 orthopedic surgeries in Yemen’s Hadhramaut governorate from July 13 to 20.

The operations, overseen by seven specialists, were a part of a volunteer medical project in the Seiyun district, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

The KSrelief team examined 69 patients over the period of the project.

In addition, they conducted a workshop on orthopedic surgery and knee injuries for 15 doctors.

The KSrelief team examined 69 patients over the period of the project. (SPA)

Meanwhile, KSrelief’s Supervisor-General Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah met with the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Julien Harneis in Riyadh on Sunday.

During the meeting, they discussed ways to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.

Harneis commended Saudi Arabia for its humanitarian and relief efforts in the war-torn nation.


Saudi Arabia clears 989 explosive devices in Yemen

Saudi Arabia clears 989 explosive devices in Yemen
Updated 22 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia clears 989 explosive devices in Yemen

Saudi Arabia clears 989 explosive devices in Yemen

RIYADH: Members of Saudi Arabia’s Masam Project removed 989 explosive devices from various regions of Yemen in the third week of July.

This included five anti-personnel mines, 46 anti-tank mines, 935 unexploded ordnances, and three explosive devices, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

The Masam Project has now cleared 2,840 mines since the beginning of July in Yemen. In total, it has removed 451,908 explosive devices since it began operations in the country.

The SPA reported that these devices had been planted indiscriminately across the country to harm people, including children, women and the elderly.


Saudi Arabia wins 6 awards at 2024 International Mathematical Olympiad

Saudi Arabia wins 6 awards at 2024 International Mathematical Olympiad
Updated 22 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia wins 6 awards at 2024 International Mathematical Olympiad

Saudi Arabia wins 6 awards at 2024 International Mathematical Olympiad
  • Kingdom has now won 77 awards in total at the annual mathematics competition

RIYADH: The Kingdom won six medals at the 65th International Mathematical Olympiad 2024 held from July 15 to 21 at the University of Bath in the UK, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The annual competition had teams of up to six contestants attempting to solve three complex problems in two exams of 4.5 hours each, over two consecutive days.

Hadi Al-Aithan from the Al-Ahsa education department won a silver medal. Bronze medals were won by Youssef Bakheet (Yanbu), Mohammed Rabie (Madinah), Muath Al-Qahtani (Eastern Province) and Ahmed Al-Shehri (Riyadh).

Mohammad Al-Ghamdi from the Eastern Province received a certificate of appreciation.

The Saudi Arabia team participated under the auspices of the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, or Mawhiba, and the Ministry of Education.

Saudi Arabia’s participation is a part of the Mawhiba International Olympiad program, one of 20 initiatives offered annually based on advanced curricula and other development programs.

These initiatives offer gifted students an opportunity to develop their skills in collaboration with local and international partners, the SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia has now won 77 awards at the annual competition including 12 silver and 46 bronze medals, and 19 certificates of appreciation.